Has Tequila Jumped the Shark?
Interesting article from Serious Eats about the current status (trendy) of tequila - http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/06...
Some of the links embedded in the article to other blogs and articles are also rather interesting
I agree with a lot of what the article says, El Charro seems to be one of those tequilas trying to be a premium brand by putting a mediocre product in a nice bottle .
I had seen the silver 1 ltrs online for $40, heard of it in other places for anywhere from $15-25, got it on SC for $14 for a 750, wouldn't buy it again - very underwhelming, for a few bucks more Espolon is much better. (The place that was selling it for $40 has reduced the price to $19 LOL)
Yeah, I thought the article was interesting as well. I can't really comment on whether some brands have gotten worse due to cutting corners as I haven't drank enough tequila to say.
I noticed that someone said in the comments that tequila has gotten too expensive, but I actually think there are more choices for good tequila under $25 or $30 than I have ever seen, at least here in Boston. I tried a bottle of Lunazul Reposado recently and really liked it. I have had Milagro in a few drinks in bars and thought that it was quite decent as well. Then you have Espolon, and I've heard Pueblo Viejo is good as well. Considering that recently the choice was basically 1800 or Sauza Hornitos, I think tequila is still doing just fine, and more people potentially have the chance to try some good tequila at a lower price. For me the bigger issue is that I have limited uses for tequila in cocktails, but I do always love a good margarita.
Interesting you mention Lunazul. It's super cheap ($14.99 for a 5th) here in SoCal, but surprisingly good. I used to buy the Lunazul blanco and use it for margaritas for which it worked perfectly. I picked up a bottle of Espolon blanco earlier this year for $15.99 to use in margaritas. I like it but wasn't wowed by it. For resposados, I'm kind of a Don Julio or Corzo kinda girl.
There are a number of things you can do with tequila
- sub it for vodka in a bloody mary and you've got a a bloody maria (can can also sub the tomato juice for Spicy V-8 or Snap*E*Tom)
- sub it for the vodka in a greyhound
- Add club soda and a spritz of lime juice
- Try a Paloma - http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink12211... - or Goggle for your own recipe. This makes a great summer drink
- Make a standard margarita and add half again as much jamacia as margarita
- Put a shaken (not blended) margarita in a large glass and add club soda, it becomes a refreshing spritzer for the summer
- Try a Chico - http://www.saveur.com/article/Wine-an... - not bad at all, also refreshing for the summer
- If it's reposado or anejo you've got, drink it neat or on the rocks
You can sub tequila in a lot of places you might use vodka and to a lesser extent gin. Sub, taste, and then tweak. The possibilities are endless, but I've found that the longer I drink tequila the more inclined I am to just drink it straight cuz it really doesn't need all the window dressing
I've never had the Lunazul Blanco but I have a bottle of the repo and didn't like it at all. I found it a little sour and soapy.
I find the Espolon very smooth but not all that flavorful, but with nothing offensive in the flavor - kind of like Patron but at $20 a bottle rather than $50. My favorite Blanco so far is Corazon (sale price $27), nice agave taste and not hard to drink neat, though I really want to get a bottle of Casa Noble, I just keep balking at the $40 price.
And I only used the Lunazul Blanco for margaritas :-). I took a few sips straight and found it a little raw, but it made a pretty decent maggie.
For margaritas and other mixed drinks (such as a Paloma) using blancos, I like El Jimador or Cazadores. I can find both locally for under $25. BevMo recently ran an on-line $2 coupon special through May 31st for Cazadores. You had to reprint the coupon everytime you wanted to buy a bottle, but between the discount I got using my BevMo card and the coupon, I got the cost of a bottle down to $17.99.
Jamaica - sorry, I spelled it incorrectly above - is an iconic Mexican agua. It is made from dried hibiscus flowers (a relative of sorrel, not the Hawaiian hibiscus flower) by boiling, steeping, straining, adding additional water and then sugar to taste. It has a gorgeous deep ruby color and a flavor not unlike cranberry juice.
Making jamaica is simpler than it sounds, but if the dried flowers are not available, one could use 100% cranberry juice that has been diluted. Since 100% cranberry juice tends to be very tart and puckery, some additional sugar may be needed. The amount of sugar will depend upon how sweet the margarita into which it's going is. If the maggie is made with sweet and sour mix rather than lime juice, no additional sugar will be needed as the sweet & sour generally has more than enough.
Jamaica is a good match with lime juice and tequila which is why I originally recommended it rather than 100% cranberry juice
First, to the OP. Jumping the shark? If any spirit has done this it is vodka. Watered down grain alcohol in a fancy bottle at high prices.
I too hate that fact that tequila is so expensive. Unlike vodka tequila is made from a single source from a limited geographic area and due to disease the agave plant has taken a big hit over the last couple of decades and with the increase in the popularity of tequila it is no wonder it's gone up in price.
I think in the world of uber-expensive and/or flavored vodka, designer gins, etc., the spirits industry as a whole has "jumped the shark."